Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, & Future to Perform at Saudi Arabia Festival Despite Criticism
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Nicki Minaj pulled out of the Jeddah World Fest in support of LGBTQ and women’s rights.
Janet Jackson, Future, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, and Tyga have signed on to perform at the Jedda World Fest despite backlash over Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations.
According to the Associated Press, the event’s website was updated Wednesday to include the artists’ names, after Nicki Minaj pulled out of Thursday’s festival. The Human Rights Foundation has been asking entertainers to not perform in Saudia Arabia over gender segregation.
Minaj released a statement to Associated Press last week on her decision to cancel the gig saying, “While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.”
Saudi Arabia has had restrictions on free speech, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. After the new festival lineup was posted, HRF president and founder Thor Halvorssen sent letters to the added performers.
“It’s clear that, after losing Nicki Minaj on the basis of the Saudi regime’s atrocious human rights record and their treatment of women and the gay community, the Crown Prince has chosen to spend whatever it takes to give the appearance that things are normal and that this is just another concert,” Halvorssen said in a statement posted to the organization’s website.
The statement also references the country’s involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“It’s a blatant public relations push on the heels of the pre-meditated assassination of a Washington Post columnist and the ongoing imprisonment of dozens of human rights activists,” Halvorssen’s statement continued. “Saudi is engaged in a sophisticated campaign of distraction. It’s baffling to the fans of Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Liam Payne, and these other artists, that despite knowing all of this, they still intend to perform.”
Within the last few months, Saudi Arabia has hosted performances by Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, David Guetta, and Tiesto. K-pop group BTS is slated to perform a stadium show in the capital city of Riyadh in October.